The effects of dance on physical risk factors that influence falling in older adults

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Chesterfield, Stephen David Mann
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Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Bacon, Catherine
Moran, Robert
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
successful ageing
fall risk
Dance Mobility program
Unitec Institute of Technology
Selwyn Retirement Village (Point Chevalier, N.Z.)
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Chesterfield, S. D. M. (2013). The effects of dance on physical risk factors that influence falling in older adults. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
BACKGROUND: Falls are a substantial source of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Dance may offer fall prevention benefits for older adults who are at high risk of falling. METHODS: A double-cohort pilot study was conducted to investigate the effects of group-based dance on physical risk factors, in independent communitydwelling and retirement village-dwelling adults over 65-years of age. The first cohort of participants (n=7) were independent community-dwelling older adults who took part in a dance-based mobility class ; the second cohort of participants (n=14) were independent residents of a retirement village who undertook folk dancing classes. Classes were scheduled once weekly, for 9 consecutive weeks, followed by social time. Outcome measures included a 30 s seated chair stand, single leg stance, a four square step test and bipedal static sway. RESULTS: Improvements were observed pre-to post-intervention, for seated chair stand and four square step test in both cohorts and no meaningful improvement was observed for sway variables in both cohorts. Cohort 1 mobility dance: seated chair stand (d=0.50, p=0.04), single leg stance (d=0.57, p=0.03), four square step test (d=0.72, p=0.01). Cohort 2 folk dancing: seated chair stand (d=0.13, p=0.01), single leg stance (d=0.35, p=0.14), four square step test (d=0.55, p=0.03). CONCLUSION: In both cohorts, participation in dance classes was associated with favourable reductions in risk factors for falling. These preliminary findings should be further investigated in a larger scale, randomised controlled trial.
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